Page 1




◗ L E A D E R S H I P ◗ A D V O C A C Y ◗ E D U C AT I O N

A Presidential Passion CGSA President Christian Pilon talks golf and giving back to the industry he loves

PLUS ◗ Going for the Green: One super’s quest for Audubon Certification ◗ A Balancing Act: Achieving work/life balance ◗ On a Roll: Green speed and your turf ◗ Olds Gets New: Updates to the Alberta Turf Program

What makes our bridges unique and superior to all other alternatives for Golf Courses?

 100% composite materials proven to resist corrosion and deterioration.  A molding process that allows us to offer architectural and custom features.  Easiest to install, easiest to maintain, no harm to eco-systems.

Perfect for your golf course – Connect With Us.

1-888-444-0277 |

Made in Canada



Canadian Golf Superintendents Association Board of Directors 2014 – 2015 CHRISTIAN PILON, MS President Master Superintendent Mount Bruno Country Club 665 Chemin des Vingts, QC J3V 4P6 T: 450-653-1265 F: 450-653-8393 KYLE KELLGREN

ADDITIONAL EVENTS Bayer Environmental Science – Fall Field Day John Deere Golf – Fall Field Day, Equipment Technician Award Club Car – Environmental Award The Toro Company – Future Superintendent Award, Classic Reception/Fall Field Day, Gordon Witteveen Award

Vice President Superintendent Jackfish Lodge Golf & Conference Centre PO Box 10, Cochin, SK S0M 0L0 T: 306-386-2150 F: 306-386-2840

JAMES BEEBE Secretary Treasurer / Alberta Director Superintendent Priddis Greens Golf & CC 1 Priddis Greens Drive Priddis, AB T0L 1W0 T: 403-931-3391 F: 403-931-3219


485041_club.indd 1

6/30/10 3:13:01 PM

Past President Superintendent Northumberland Links Golf Club PO Box 2, Pugwash, Nova Scotia B0K 1L0 T: 902-243-2119 F: 902-243-3213



Manitoba Director Superintendent St. Boniface Golf & Country Club 100 Youville Street Winnipeg, MN R2H 2S1 T: 204-233-2497 F: 204-237-9794

Atlantic Director Golf Operations Manager Westfield Golf & Country Club 8 Golf Club Road Grand Bay-Westfield, NB E5K 3C8 T: 506-757-2907



Ontario Director Superintendent Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club PO Box 280, 1330 Ferndale Road Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0 T: 705-765-3165 F: 705-765-6990

Quebec Director Superintendent Summerlea Golf and Country Club 1000 Route De Lotbiniere Vaudreuil – Dorion, QC J7V 8P2 T: 450-455-0929 F: 450-455-8898



British Columbia Director Superintendent Revelstoke Golf Club PO Box 9153 RP03 Revelstoke, BC V0E 3K0 T: 250-837-5000 F: 250-837-6123

Saskatchewan Director Superintendent Cooke Municipal Golf Club 900 – 22nd Street East Prince Albert, SK S6V 1P1 T: 306-763-2502

COVER PHOTO: Christian Pilon, CGSA President

R AT E S A R E S E T F O R 2 0 1 4

Credit: Hogan Olsson, Golf Professional


Deliver Your Print Message to Golf Course Superintendents Across Canada

15% Discount for Companies who exhibited at the 2014 Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver.

Advertising Contact: Bill Garrett, CEM Direct: 416-626-8873 ext. 224 Mobile: 905-330-6717 Fax: 416-626-1958


MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 3

Chapter 1

INTRODUCING TORO INFINITY™ SERIES GOLF SPRINKLERS Countless Benefits. Infinite Possibilities. ®

The opportunities are limitless with the new Toro INFINITY Series golf sprinkler. From immediate convenience, compatibility and labor savings to extra capacity for future technologies, INFINITY keeps you ahead of the game for decades to come.

It’s simple Turfonomics. TOP LINE THINKING



The new patented INFINITY™ Series changes everything for the better: course quality, workload and most important, no interruption of play. Calculate the money you’ll save by cutting sprinkler maintenance from hours to

The new INFINITY™ Series is built for expansion, not replacement — it’s a truly sustainable investment that pays off in cost savings today and has extra capacity for new technologies in the future. With the patented SMART ACCESS™

The benefits to course maintenance and quality are countless, but it’s the professional benefits that really make the INFINITY Series the smart choice. The latest innovation from TORO, INFINITY lets you

minutes. And just think about how much better your course will look when you replace shovels with screwdrivers. No holes or piles of dirt to draw

you can access all sprinkler components from the top, and adding new capabilities is just as easy, making the future a welcome change.

truly manage your work crews, budgets and course improvements now and in the future. That not only helps you keep your course looking and playing its best, it makes you look pretty good, too.

unwanted attention from players or the Greens Committee.

Learn more at: ©2014 The Toro Company. All rights reserved.


greenmaster VOL 49, NO. 3

GreenMaster is published six times a year (Jan/Feb, March/April, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) by the Canadian Golf Superintendents’ Association:


◗ In case you haven’t heard, it’s been a tough winter and spring for many superintendents across the country. Far-from-normal winter damage, budget constraints and late openings have been the main topics of blogs and conversations everywhere. As I browse through the articles on the following pages, I’m amazed at the positive theme that runs throughout. The very nature of the business demands that superintendents acknowledge the problems at hand and move on to solutions. Incoming CGSA President, Christian Pilon is one of those who searches for solutions in adversity. His story is featured in an interview on page 20 and after reading it, I think you will agree that the CGSA could not have a better person at the helm at this point in time. Mentor Memories (page 28) is one of the positive stories featuring the people who helped shape the careers of three superintendents who went on to win the Superintendent of the Year recently. You will find another positive story in the Back Nine profile (page 36) of Saskatchewan Director, Pierre Vezeau as he enthusiastically embarks on his CGSA board term. CGSA Alberta Director, James Beebe writes an insightful article on work/life balance, a subject that comes to the pages

CGSA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Ken Cousineau, CAE Tel: 416-626-8873 ext. 222

of GreenMaster often. James takes the approach of team building and how that can lead to overall balance. Read the article on page 30 and see how his management philosophy connects. GreenMaster endeavors to include timely research information as a regular part of our editorial and this issue brings two pieces; one a follow up to research from Scandinavia and a CTRF article on Compost Tea. There are many people to thank as we strive to produce each issue of GreenMaster. It goes without saying that our advertisers are a most important part of our success but so too are our writers and contributors. In this issue, we have two stories written by superintendents or assistant superintendents that will qualify for the Gordon Witteveen Award at the end of the year. In 2013 we had a record number of qualifiers. Please get in touch with any story ideas you may like to contribute and remember that we will help you with the structure of your articles. We also want to thank you, our readers, for your support and comments throughout the year. Have a great season and stay positive. GM

We want your feedback! Email us at:


FEBRUARY 2nd – 6th, 2015

CGSA Fall Field Day

Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show

Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club Port Carling, Ontario Host Superintendent: James Flett, AGS

MANAGING EDITOR & ADVERTISING SALES: Bill Garrett, CEM Tel: 416-626-8873 ext. 224 ASSISTANT EDITOR: Marc Cousineau

CANADIAN GOLF SUPERINTENDENTS’ ASSOCIATION 5399 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 201 Toronto, ON M9C 5K6 Tel: 416-626-8873 / Toll Free: 800-387-1056 Fax: 416-626-1958 PRINTING PROVIDED BY Blenheim INK 4305 Fairview Street, Suite 232 Burlington, ON L7L 6E8 Tel: 289-337-4305 Fax: 289-337-4187 Contact: Terry Davey | ART DIRECTION & DESIGN BY Jeanette Thompson Tel: 519-650-2024 ©2014 Canadian Golf Superintendents Association. All rights reserved. The views expressed by the authors of articles or letters published in GreenMaster are not those of the Association and, therefore, the Association shall not be held liable for any of these views. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the Association. GreenMaster® is a registered trademark of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association. All rights reserved. CANADA POST PUBLICATIONS MAIL PUBLICATIONS AGREEMENT No. 40025905 Return undeliverable copies to: Canadian Golf Superintendents’ Association 5399 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 201 Toronto, ON M9C 5K6

Telus Convention Centre Calgary, Alberta

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 5


The new Jacobsen LF510™ large area reel mower offers affordability from the start, simplified maintenance and a reliable Kubota diesel Tier 4 final engine – making it easy to afford, use and maintain through its entire life. The LF510’s clean and consistent quality-of-cut is provided by the new TrueSet™ cutting units with Classic XP™ reels that boast an industry-leading 425-lbs. of holding power. See your local Jacobsen dealer for more information.

1.888.922.TURF | ©2014 Jacobsen division of Textron. All rights reserved.





A Second Look: Where Is Green Speed Taking the Game?


Green Fertilization The Scandinavian Way


Answering The Call Of Duty: The CGSA’s New President


Producing a Game Changer at Olds College


Audubon Certification: Achievable By All


Compost Teas, Dollar Spot and Snow Mold


Mentor Memories


Pursuing Work/Life Balance















36 MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 7


“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou CHRISTIAN PILON, PRESIDENT

Bringing Out the Best in Golf Rien de moins que le mieux pour le golf! ◗ From coast to coast, we are hearing that this past winter and spring were quite unusual and delivered a mix bag of problems for superintendents to deal with. Ice damage, flooding, tree damage, snow mold damage and late and massive snow cover are just some of the obvious obstacles we’ve been faced with. Budgetary compressions have also been a hot topic as the golf industry struggles to generate the number of rounds it once did. Superintendents have had to re-invent their operations in these difficult economic times without impacting the high standards that were put in place during better years. Despite these agronomical, operational and financial challenges, the resilient nature and professionalism of golf course superintendents can prove to be an exceptional asset which can make a significant contribution to the enhancement of the golf experience and the further engagement of the golfers at your facility. What makes a great customer experience? In my mind, understanding what your customers want, treating people like individuals, showing that you care, going the extra mile, opening up the lines of communication and making the golfer feel like they are the most important person in the world all add to the quality of the experience. Everyone at a golf facility has the power to influence the customer experience. Very few have as many opportunities to bring magic into the lives of our golfers as we do. What are these opportunities that I am talking about? We have the ability to produce the desired golf course conditions 8 GreenMaster |

on a daily basis. We personally have a chance to directly interact individually with golfers at our facility, to discuss the ins and outs of our profession, to ask for feedback and to teach our golfers about the importance of certain practices. Every time we come across a golfer on the course, that is the perfect time to make them feel special. We also have an opportunity to touch our members or customers through others. Our staff members are a direct extension of each of us and can be a strong asset or a major deterrent to the experience that you offer golfers. A strong customer experience plan, involving your staff members and senior management, that takes into account the profile and needs of users can truly have a positive effect on people’s perspective of our operation, our overall facility and the golf industry as a whole. The role that each of us plays in the golfer’s experience is important, not only for our own golf facility, but for the entire industry. In these changing days, we all need to do our part to bring magic to golfers so that they can eventually bring their magic to other golf facilities and contribute to the overall pool of golf rounds. The CGSA is fully engaged with other national golf organisations through NAGA, the National Allied Golf Association, to ensure a strong future for golf in Canada. GM

◗ Selon la rumeur en provenance de toutes les régions du pays, la météo a été capricieuse l’hiver et le printemps derniers et les surintendants ont dû composer avec toute une série de problèmes. Mentionnons entre autres les dégâts causés par la glace, les inondations, les arbres endommagés, la moisissure nivéale et une couche de neige massive. Les compressions budgétaires ont également été au centre des préoccupations parce que l’industrie du golf a du mal à générer autant de rondes que dans le passé. Les surintendants doivent réinventer leurs manières de procéder au cours de cette conjoncture économique difficile, sans remettre en question les normes élevées mises en place au cours des années de plus grande prospérité. Malgré les défis agronomiques, opérationnels et financiers auxquels ils doivent faire face, les surintendants représentent un atout exceptionnel pour les terrains de golf. Le professionnalisme et la détermination dont ils font preuve sont des éléments clés de la qualité du parcours et de la satisfaction des golfeurs. En quoi consiste une expérience client exceptionnelle? À mon avis, il faut comprendre ce que les golfeurs veulent, les traiter avec doigté, faire la preuve que nous nous soucions d’eux, nous dépasser, garder les voies de communications ouvertes et leur faire sentir qu’ils sont les personnes les plus importantes au monde. Tous ces éléments ajoutent à la qualité de l’expérience client. Dans un club de golf, nous avons tous une certaine influence sur l’expérience client. Cependant, à titre de surintendant,

nous avons encore plus d’occasions d’apporter un peu de magie dans la vie des golfeurs. Quelles sont ces occasions? Par exemple, nous avons la capacité, jour après jour, d’offrir aux clients les conditions de jeu qu’ils recherchent. De plus, nous avons la chance d’interagir directement avec plusieurs d’entre eux, de discuter des diverses facettes de notre profession, de leur demander leurs commentaires et de leur démontrer l’importance de certaines pratiques. Chaque fois que nous rencontrons un golfeur sur le parcours, le moment est idéal pour lui faire sentir qu’il est important pour nous. Nous pouvons également avoir un impact sur nos clients par l’entremise de nos employés. Ces derniers agissent en quelque sorte comme nos représentants et ils peuvent avoir un effet bénéfique ou très néfaste sur l’expérience offerte aux golfeurs. La création d’une expérience client qui met à contribution les membres du personnel et les cadres, et prend en considération le profil et les besoins des utilisateurs, peut avoir un effet très positif sur l’idée que les gens se font de

votre parcours, de votre club et de toute l’industrie du golf. Nous jouons tous un rôle important dans l’expérience des golfeurs, non seulement en ce qui a trait à notre propre terrain de golf, mais également à l’ensemble de l’industrie. Par les temps qui courent, nous devons tous faire notre part afin de susciter un engouement toujours plus grand pour le golf et contribuer ainsi à augmenter le nombre de rondes jouées. L’ACSG s’investit à fond avec les autres organisations nationales, par l’entremise de la National Allied Golf Association (NAGA), pour assurer un avenir prospère à l’industrie du golf au Canada. GM

“Les gens vont oublier ce que vous avez dit et ce que vous avez fait. Mais ils n’oublieront jamais ce que vous leur avez fait ressentir.” Maya Angelou

Your course is like no other – especially when it comes to soil and water quality issues. That’s why we’ve designed a comprehensive line of products to help you manage your unique soiland water-related challenges. From salt stress to carbonate buildup, we’ll help you evaluate your turf’s needs and build a program that is both effective and affordable. Contact your Aquatrols distributor for more information.

® ®







MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 9


“The politicians need to understand that there are thousands of voters in their riding that depend on the success of the golf sector to retain their jobs.” Ken Cousineau, CGSA Executive Director KEN COUSINEAU, CAE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

It’s Time for the Grassroots Approach Le temps est venu d’agir localement! ◗ If it was any other profession or industry, the reference to “grassroots” would not be a play on words, but for the golf industry, the wry smile can’t be avoided. The industry in Canada is at a key juncture in its effort to bring fairness to the business tax scenario in Canada. Just a quick recap: Businesses in Canada can claim 50% of entertainment expenses as a business tax deduction. The problem for golf is that it is not included in the activities that can be claimed for business expense purposes. It is one of only a couple of activities that don’t qualify. In other words, if a business decides to take a client or clients golfing, the cost of the green fees and cart rental can’t be used for a business tax reduction. This golf season marks a critical juncture in our efforts to have the legislation changed. Since the launch of our campaign in 2011, NAGA partners have worked hard to establish awareness for the request among MPs, bureaucrats and third parties to create all-party support, including the establishment of an all-party golf caucus. To be decisive, the efforts over the next six months will require a concerted effort in each and every riding across Canada – a truly grassroots effort – to create the pressure needed within the Conservative Party caucus to get the answer we want and need to help revitalize our industry. To quote a prominent government relations consultant when asked about this issue, “If we want the job done, we’ll have to do it ourselves!” How does the grassroots thing actually work and what can you do to make it happen? It’s actually quite simple. Find out 10 GreenMaster |

who your MP is in the riding where your golf course is located. If you happen to actually know your MP, that’s a bonus. If that is the case, familiarize yourself with the issue, call the MP and ask for a 20 minute meeting. Use the materials that the NAGA consultants can provide to both help you with the issue and provide you with materials to leave with your MP. If you don’t know the MP, check at your facility to determine if anyone there knows the MP. If someone does, ask them to make the appointment and offer your support and participation in the meeting. If no one knows the MP, make the appointment or have our consultant assist with making the appointment and have the meeting. It takes 20 minutes, with an hour or two to prepare prior to the meeting and maybe another 30 minutes after the meeting to record what happened. The 2015 federal budget is our best opportunity to have this change implemented. It will almost undoubtedly be a surplus budget, providing the opportunity for the federal government to provide some tax relief. But golf is still seen as an elitist activity. The grassroots effort is needed to demonstrate who is actually affected by this unfair policy. The politicians need to understand that there are thousands of voters in their riding that depend on the success of the golf sector to retain their jobs. They need to understand that golf is truly a business development activity, much the same or more so than baseball, hockey, the opera or any other approved activity. It is estimated that this change will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional expenditures for green fees,

cart fees and countless more in food and beverage and equipment expenditures. This issue is critically important to the industry and you are critically important to the success of our efforts. Make the effort, please! For more information please contact Michael Hatch at mhatch@impactcanada. com or me at the CGSA office or go to GM ◗ Nous en sommes maintenant à un point tournant de la politique fiscale canadienne et nous devons faire en sorte d’assurer un traitement équitable à notre industrie. Permettez-moi de faire le survol de la question. Pour réduire leur fardeau fiscal, les entreprises peuvent réclamer 50% de leurs dépenses de divertissement. Malheureusement, le golf ne fait pas partie de ces activités récréatives déductibles d’impôt. Lorsqu’elles invitent un ou des clients à jouer une ronde de golf, les entreprises ne peuvent donc pas profiter de ce coup de pouce fiscal pour les frais d’entrée et la location de la voiturette. La présente saison de golf marque une étape cruciale de nos efforts pour faire modifier cette loi. Depuis le lancement de notre campagne à cet effet en 2011, les partenaires de la National Allied Golf Association (NAGA) travaillent d’arrachepied pour sensibiliser les députés, les bureaucrates et autres intervenants. Ils tentent d’obtenir le soutien de tous les partis politiques et même de créer un groupe parlementaire multipartite dévoué à notre cause. Pour être victorieux, il faudra redoubler d’efforts au cours des six prochains mois en nous mobilisant

dans toutes les circonscriptions fédérales du Canada. Nous devons nous organiser à l’échelon local pour faire pression à l’intérieur du Parti conservateur afin de gagner cette bataille et contribuer ainsi à revitaliser notre industrie. Pour reprendre les mots d’un célèbre consultant en relations gouvernementales : « Pour arriver à ses fins, il faut faire le travail soi-même! » Comment s’organiser à l’échelon local? Il suffit tout simplement de trouver le nom du député qui représente la circonscription dans laquelle votre terrain de golf se trouve. Si, par hasard, vous connaissez votre député, bravo! Dans ce cas, étudiez bien toutes les facettes de la question, appelezle et demandez-lui de vous rencontrer pour une vingtaine de minutes. Les consultants de la NAGA peuvent vous aider à approfondir la question et vous donner des documents à remettre à votre député. Si vous ne connaissez pas votre député, il y a peut-être quelqu’un dans votre club qui le connaît. Si tel est le cas, demandez à cette personne d’organiser une réunion et offrez-lui d’y participer. Si personne n’a de liens directs avec votre député, appelez-le quand même pour prendre rendez-vous, ou demandez à notre consultant de le faire pour vous. En vue de cette réunion qui durera une vingtaine de minutes, vous aurez besoin d’environ une heure ou deux pour vous préparer et d’une trentaine de minutes ensuite pour prendre note de ce qui s’est dit. Le budget de 2015 est la meilleure occasion que nous avons d’apporter ces changements. Il s’agira sans aucun doute d’un budget excédentaire qui donnera l’occasion au gouvernement fédéral d’offrir des allégements fiscaux. Notons que le golf est toujours perçu comme une activité élitiste. Notre initiative à l’échelon local est vraiment nécessaire pour démontrer que cette politique fiscale injuste affecte de nombreuses personnes. Les politiciens doivent comprendre que des milliers d’électeurs dans leur circonscription dépendent du succès du secteur du golf pour conserver leur emploi. Ils doivent

également comprendre que le golf représente une activité de développement des affaires, aussi bien et même plus que le baseball, le hockey, l’opéra et les autres activités approuvées. On estime que cette modification à la loi rapportera des revenus supplémentaires de plusieurs centaines de millions de dollars pour les droits de jeu et la location de voiturettes, et plus encore en aliments, boissons et dépenses d’équipements. Cette question est d’une importance cruciale pour l’industrie et vous jouez un rôle clé dans le succès de nos efforts. Nous vous engageons vivement à mettre l’épaule à la roue! Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements, nous vous prions de communiquer avec M. Michael Hatch à, ou avec moi au bureau de l’ACSG, ou encore de consulter GM

“Les politiciens doivent comprendre que des milliers d’électeurs dans leur circonscription dépendent du succès du secteur du golf pour conserver leur emploi.” Ken Cousineau, directeur général de l’ACSG

Quality Golf Course and Sports Field Sod Supply and Installation Bentgrass, Bluegrass, Fescue and Ryegrass blends. Proudly Serving Western Canada!


Serving Western Canada with quality Bentgrass Sod for 18 years.

1-800-267-7763 MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 11




Sports Turf Association Goes Coast to Coast ◗ Members of the Sports Turf Association voted to turn the provincial not-for-profit corporation into a Canada-wide association at its recent annual general meeting. The change in jurisdiction also comes with a new name; the Sports Turf Association will now be called Sports Turf Canada. The rebrand comes after a year-long marketing and organizational review looking into everything from the association’s core values to its membership demographics. In the end, members decided it was time the name and bylaws of the association matched its reach. “The nucleus of members of the Sports Turf Association has, since its inception in 1987, been based in Ontario. However we have long-supported sports turf managers from coast to coast,” said the organization’s Past President Paul Gillen in an April press release. “The transfer of our corporate identity into the federal domain recognizes more formally our dedication to the promotion of better, safer sports turf across the country.” The seed for this transformation was planted 27 years ago at the organization’s birth, but was strengthened and solidified in the last five years. This was the period in which the Sports Turf Association became

12 GreenMaster |

an international affiliate of the American Sports Turf Managers Association, formalized a partnership agreement with the Western Canada Turfgrass Association (WCTA) and began initiatives in Atlantic Canada. “The creation of a national association was the vision all those years ago. It is exciting and gratifying to watch this niche organization grow into one with a national presence and a national mandate,” said Michael Bladon, a founding father of the Sports Turf Association, in the press release. While the name may be different, association President Tennessee Propedo says the organization will continue to serve and grow as it’s always done. “While Sports Turf Canada as a brand identity may be new, the passion and hands-on approach of board members and staff and their dedication to the association is not,” said Propedo. “We are the authority in our field and are committed to providing our members with current, credible and relevant information to help them to manage their field assets in the most safe and effective manner.”

Nova Scotia Course Plays Host to First-ever Canada Cup Golf Tournament

◗ The inaugural edition of a new golf event being held in Nova Scotia is drawing big names and big attention to the course of CGSA member superintendents Jason Fillion and Brian Gouthro. The first ever Canada Cup is being held at Ashburn Golf and Country Club (New Course), June 30, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The event will see Team Canada, represented by Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet and David Hearn, go up against Team World, which is made up of Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland and Trevor Immelman, in an 18-hole match for international bragging rights. The event is part of GOLFest Nova Scotia, a week-long celebration of national pride and all things golf in Canada that will also feature a Tour event, the Nova Scotia Open, from June 29 to July 6. RBC was recently named the title sponsor of the Canada Cup. The Canadian PGA Tour pros are excited to represent their country and will go for the win on the course of CGSA member superintendents Fillion and Gouthro. “It’s always special to represent your country,” said Hearn. “It’s going to be very exciting for golf fans. It should be a fun match but also be very serious. We want to make Canada proud and keep the bragging rights at home.” The six golfers bring 20 PGA Tour Wins and almost $85 million in career earnings to the event. The teams will also feature Tour players to be chosen closer to the match.

National Tournament Schedule Features Work of Over 20 CGSA Members ◗ The Canadian national golf tournament season has begun and some of the world’s brightest up-and-comers, along with the game’s most established stars, will visit the country’s courses, including those of 27 CGSA member superintendents. The schedule is a jam-packed one that features over 35 tournaments across eight provinces. The tournaments are hosted by Golf Canada, the PGA Tour Canada, the PGA, the LPGA and the PGA of Canada and run between May and September. CGSA members will once again tend the turf at more than two dozen of these prestigious events. There will be 27 member superintendents in charge of maintaining the championship conditions necessary to challenge the golf’s biggest names and the game’s future stars. The season starts off with a triple bill as three CGSA superintendents, Jay Leach, Deni Terenzio and Scott Ramsay, host events in May. June sees five CGSA supers hosting events at their courses. They are Brian Youell, Dustin How, Andrew Lombardo, Tom Newton and Tyler McComas. The month of July features six CGSA supers that will no doubt have their courses in top shape when the players come knocking. They are Greg Kennedy, Gregory Greer, Jerry Richard, Dean Clarke, Gregory McFarlane and Tom Newton. August is the busiest month for CGSA supers as eight association members ready their greens and fairways for the world’s elite. They are Daniel Ciekiewicz, Scott Dyker, James Burlington, Jayson Griffiths, William Julie, Jamie Robb, John McLinden and Ken MacKenzie. Five CGSA supers will wrap up the season in September as golfer’s take to their courses. They are Yanick Lévesque, Drew Rachar, Tim Webb, Edward Doda and Douglas Erwin.

Advertisers’ Index Aquatrols .............................................. 9, 35 Bos Sod Farms ........................................ 11 Buffalo Turbine........................................ 29 Enviro-Sol.................................................... 32


All superintendents will be joined by a great crew to create the best conditions for what is sure to be a golf season filled with fantastic play, close rounds and thrilling Sundays. For a full list of the 2014 national tournaments, CGSA superintendent hosts and profiles of their courses, please visit the CGSA website under Events and National Tournaments.

BC Organizations and Golf Course Put Best Foot Forward for Charity ◗ Golf courses in British Columbia host charity events many times every year, but they’ve never seen one quite like this. Inn From the Cold and the Kelowna Kodiaks put together the first ever footgolf tournament in BC in April to raise money for Kelowna’s homeless population. The Kelowna Kodiaks, a soccer team made up of Kelowna’s homeless, underprivileged persons and volunteers, organized the Kelowna Kodiaks Footgolf Tournament at Okanagan Golf Club’s Bear Course to kick off the soccer and golf season, raise some money and determine the first (un)official footgolf champion of BC. Footgolfers had the unique opportunity

Jacobsen........................................................ 6 John Deere Golf...................................... 40 Links Bridges................................................ 2 NGCOA (National Golf Course Owners Association)............................ 33

to directly interact with the players and volunteers of the Kelowna Kodiaks, who acted as their caddies for the day. This provided participants with the rare chance to meet the people their donations impacted and gave the team an opportunity to become part of the community in a fun way. The tournament comes at a time when footgolf is continuing its march towards popularity around the world. The game, which originated in the Netherlands, has spread to 16 countries and is governed by an international federation. The course superintendent at Okanagan had only a small amount of work to do to get the course in shape for the tournament. Players used existing tee boxes to start their holes and aimed for the larger soccer ball-sized holes that are generally cut into the second cut or rough, so as to not disrupt the course from its original intention. GM

Quali-Pro..................................................... 39 The Toro Company.................................. 4 Wallah Golf................................................. 32 Western Turf Farms............................... 11

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 13


This is the third in a series of articles where writers look into the GreenMaster archives, examine articles they have contributed and discuss what has changed and what hasn’t.

One Decade Later:

Where Is Green Speed Taking the Game? ◗ In 2005, Matt Nelson and Larry Gilhuly

were responsible for visiting golf courses in 11 western states and the western provinces of Canada. During this time, it was noted that green speeds had ramped up to numbers far beyond the original, average green speed when the USGA stimpmeter was originally released in 1977. In the late ‘70s, the average speed of greens in the U.S. was approximately 6’6”! Many wish the average speed of greens only increased 1’ every decade since then; however, that has not been the case. In the ensuing, nearly four decades since the introduction of the stimpmeter, green speeds are not often found in the 10’6” range. They are often well past 11’ with many golf courses puffing out their chests in the 12’ range! What in the world has happened to achieve these types of extremely fast greens? More importantly, has it changed in the past decade and is there any way to provide decision makers with a reasonable way to bring green speeds back to a level that matches the contours found on their greens? Or match the average handicaps of their players to make the game more enjoyable? 14 GreenMaster |

Older greens with great architectural features do not need to be destroyed. Instead, the simple process of raising mowing heights could be the answer for the majority of your players.

Where is Green Speed Taking the Game? Part 1

In the original article (Where Is Green Speed Taking the Game?), the authors discussed how green speeds can severely impact how the game is played and some of the negatives associated with green speeds that are too fast for the existing contours. The main topics included the following: They slow down play! One decade later, they still do. Interesting hole locations are lost. One decade later, more hole locations have been lost or greens have simply been rebuilt. Ball marks and old holes are slower to heal. One decade later, this has gotten worse. Golf course setup is for a minority of players. Average handicaps for men in 2005 were at 15.0, with women at 28.0. In the nearly 10 years since, the average male handicap has dropped less than one shot (14.3 in 2013), with the ladies slightly

The Dilemma of Older, Contoured Greens with Faster Green Speed Demands.

The problem with fast green speeds on older greens constructed with much slower speed in mind is the loss of great hole locations. This has been viewed at virtually every type of golf course visited in the past 30 years working with the USGA Course Consulting Service. The difficulty in getting this point across has been addressed with some success when decision-makers understand the relationship between green speed, slopes and hole locations. The following is a good example of the situation faced by a golf course trying to decide on green reconstruction or simply slowing down their greens. The chart above was taken from the article referenced earlier by golf course architect Jerry Lemons. Shown are the green speeds on a golf course taken when the stimpmeter was first introduced (1977), ten years later and what had occurred in the ensuing 25 years. The greens are the same, only the green speeds have been changed dramatically from when the course was built in the early ‘60s. Also, many of the greens on this golf course have large areas with slopes in the 4-6% range. The following is what can be seen from this chart and is offered as an example for use on your golf course:

Maximum Slope for Green Speeds



No Hole Locations! No Holes any closer than 10’ to this slope.




Use Caution! > 8’ around hole should be consistent slope.


RECOMMENDED SLOPE > 3’ around hole should be consistent slope.

10 Jerry Lemons ASGCA

Stimpmeter Green Speed (ft)

more than one shot (26.5). In other words, excessively fast greens are still set up for the small minority of players at most golf courses. Fast greens put the emphasis on “championship” rather than “fun.” No change on this one. And what about that poor turf? Lower mowing heights do nothing for turf health. This leads us to the unmistakable conclusion that the main emphasis for putting green surface conditioning should be on smooth and enjoyable, not excessively fast. One decade later, the basic premise of this article remains unchanged. However, one thing has changed that will hopefully help some in their understanding of the relationship between green speeds and slopes. Perhaps an example of a golf course built in the ‘60’s, along with a chart from the article Putting Green Speeds, Slopes, and “Non-Conforming” Hole Locations, will assist you in realizing just how much green speed impacts the most important portion of the game and why great care is needed when setting hole locations.

9 8 7 1.0%









Slope in % (Ft/100”)

Green speeds have increased dramatically since the mid-‘70s! The average green speed across the U.S. in 1977 was 6’6” with this golf course slightly faster at 7’. When the greens were maintained at this speed, the standard recommendation of keeping 3’ of consistent slope around the hole was easily achievable. The creeping bentgrass greens were being mowed at a higher height, Poa annua invasion was not an issue and hole locations were often put on severe slopes that were difficult, but missed putts often stopped near the hole. Green speed increased two feet during the next decade. By 1987, the speed of the greens had reached a point where hole locations were being lost and Poa annua was starting to become an issue due to lower mowing heights. Putting green rollers did not exist at this time, thus lower mowing was the common practice used to achieve higher green speeds. At this point in time and for the next 10 years, this club was advised to not exceed 9’6” unless they wanted to lose more locations and increase Poa annua invasion. Also note that at the 9’ speed, any slope slightly over 4% and up to slightly over 6% now required 8’ of consistent slope, rather than the previous standard of 3’. This is a major difference and further resulted in the perception that the hole was placed in an “unfair” location. Balls were rolling further away from hole locations that had been fine during times of slower green speed. This obviously resulted in less usable areas as speeds increased. Twenty five years later and reconstruction is needed. During the ensuing 25 years, the green speeds continued to increase and finally peaked at 12’. As can be noted on the chart, a hole location slightly over 3% now needs 8’ of consistent slope while any slope

approaching 5% is simply not usable. Only small portions of several greens are now usable resulting in heavy wear, thin turf and an increased presence of Poa annua. The only answer is complete green renovation with more usable area and with less severe slopes. Reverting back to much slower green speeds is simply not acceptable by today’s standards for this golf course and the replacement of contaminated, older bentgrass greens with a much better playing surface is their best choice. But does this need to be the same at your course? The issue of excessive greens speeds on greens has not changed in the past decade. Some golf courses have either backed down slightly or plateaued due to turf issues. Others have found excellent results when mowing at higher heights combined with rolling (Can Annual Bluegrass Putting Greens be Healthy and Fast) to address turf issues. Regardless, many golf courses are still being maintained at regular green speeds that simply are too fast for their contours. The game is difficult enough to play and the cost is high for maintenance. Do your course and players a favor and focus on smoothness and fun. That is where we should all be taking the game GM! Larry Gilhuly has been with the USGA Green Section for over three decades providing assistance to all courses in the western U.S. and Canada. In that time he has seen the game and its’ maintenance change significantly but has not lost sight of the fact that it is still just a game that is meant to be fun. Larry Gilhuly is the director for Northwest Director, USGA Green Section.

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 15


Green Fertilization The Scandinavian Way ◗ Although Norway is a small country, it stretches out from the latitude 58 to 71˚ north. This makes light conditions comparable to those in the northern half of the Canadian mainland. The climate is mild due to the north Atlantic drift which keeps the country inhabitable and the coast free from ice throughout the winter. The annual precipitation ranges from more than 2000 mm on the west coast to less than 200 mm in the valleys sheltered from the dominating western winds. The fertilization practices on the 170 Norwegian golf courses have, for the last years, been influenced by associate professor Tom Ericsson from the Agricultural University of Sweden. He was a member of Professor Torsten Ingestad’s research group that worked on plant nutrition for some decades. Their work had great influence on fertilization practises in the forest industry, greenhouse production and nurseries. Sand-based golf greens are in many ways comparable to the inactive growth media used in greenhouses and the fertilization techniques that gardeners use to control plant growth and quality can be transferred to golf. For some years, we have based the fertilization on our experimental greens at the Bioforsk Turfgrass Research Centre on these theories and this article is therefore based both on our practical experiences and on results from completed and ongoing research. Most of the projects have been funded by the Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environment Research Foundation.

Basic Principles in Short

1. T he fertility rate should be adapted to the grass species’ genetic growth capacity. 2. F ertilizer should be applied as a complete, balanced mix of nutrients where nitrogen is the minimum factor. The same nutrient solution can be used year-round. 3. F ertilizers should be applied frequently at low rates (preferably weekly spoon-feeding). The application plan should be set up

16 GreenMaster |

3. Colonial bent grass (Agrostis capillaris L.) (syn. Agrostis tenuis Sibth.) 4. Slender creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra var litoralis) (syn. F.rubra var thichophylla) 5. Chewing fescue (Festuca rubra var commutata)

The Balanced Fertilizer


according to the main external growth factors, i.e. light and temperature (We assume that the greenkeeper controls water, soil oxygen and other limiting factors). 4. Extending the period with fertilizer inputs in autumn does not impair winter survival, but improves spring performance of the turf.

Grass Species’ Growth Capacity / Fertilizer Demand

Based on a greenhouse study and a two-year field experiment (Ericsson et al. 2012 a,b), the grass species for greens were ranked in the following way according to decreasing growth capacity and thus demand for fertilizers: 1. A  nnual meadow grass (Poa annua L.) 2. C  reeping bent grass (Agrostis stolonifera L.)

In the experiments, we used a mixture of nutrients which has proved to be correct for all plants under normal, slightly acid soil conditions (Knecht & Göransson 2004). This basic recipe offers a very good starting point for all fertilization plans. Table 1 shows only the nutrients which normally have to be applied under Scandinavian conditions. It is important that nutrients which are directly involved in photosynthesis, i.e. potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese, never become minimum factors in the mixture (Ericsson 1995). We recognize that an enhanced level of some elements, like sulfur or iron, may be beneficial for other reasons than plant growth and that several non-nutrient elements such as silicon (Si) and organic molecules may provide additional strength to the plant under stressful conditions. However, this article focuses on basic fertilization.

Table 1:

A balanced fertilizer, expressed as relative amounts of elements in proportion to nitrogen(=100) Nitrogen






























We like to make fertilization easy by stating that there is rarely any reason to deviate from this recipe as long as the applications are done frequently (weekly) and the pH is not far from optimum. When pH is high, some micronutrients, especially manganese, should be applied as a foliar application.

Applications Related to Growing Conditions

Assuming that soil moisture and gas diffusion into the soil is controlled by the greenkeeper, light and temperature are the most important environmental growth factors. We therefore recommend to set up a fertilization plan according to the light and temperature curves. (Figure 1). Heat stress is a major concern for most greenkeepers in the world, but if we examine weekly growth rates, the midsummer decline in turfgrass growth is far less distinct in Scandinavia than in North America. In Northern Norway, there is seldom any mid-summer depression at all and even at our research centre Landvik on the Norwegian south coast, the 30-year normal temperature for July is 16.2˚C and the daily maximum rarely exceeds 25˚C. This climatic difference may be important when comparing growth curves, and thus seasonal fertilizer demands, in Scandinavia and Canada. Fertilization based only on the light and temperature curves does not take into account the mineralization of nutrients from the organic matter in the greens. Especially on older greens or if the compost is added to the soil mixture, the mineralization should be taken into consideration in July and August.

Effects of Nitrogen

The art of fertilizing a green is a delicate balance between the need for density and recuperative capacity and the negative consequences such as higher mowing costs and thatch accumulation. Assuming that the plant is not suffering from nitrogen deficiency, but has a normal green color, enhanced N levels will reduce plant stress tolerance. This problem


becomes more expressed when growth conditions are not optimal. (Figure 2). Everyone seems to be aware of the positive correlation between nitrogen rate and growth (dry matter production), but the fact that enhanced growth rate reduces the sugar content in the plant is probably less recognized. The sugar reserve is very important for the plants, it being the source of energy needed for respiration, uptake of nutrients, growth, defence against pests and diseases and feeding the beneficial microbes that surround the roots in the rhizosphere. This leads to the conclusion that fertility should be reduced when the grass plant’s growth potential is limited by suboptimal temperatures, shade, lower mowing height, compaction or drought. Experiments suggest that a leaf N concentration of 3.1-3.5% is the lower limit for producing healthy-looking turf of fescues and bent grasses (Ericsson et al. 2012a,b). Some do not find it logical to decrease the fertilizer rates on a shaded green,

but this is important to keep the stress tolerance and the root development as good as possible. Of course, this practice cannot totally eliminate the effects of shaded conditions. To summarize: Grass species have different growth potential and a corresponding optimal demand for nutrients. Correct fertilization keeps the nitrogen levels in the grass plants low and stable, but still pushing plant growth enough to repair wear and tear. To keep the plant healthy, nitrogen should always be the minimum factor and be applied as part of a balanced complete mixture of nutrients. In practice, we recommend to spoonfeed weekly with a liquid fertilizer. This gives the turfgrass manager the opportunity to adjust for changes in cutting height or weather conditions and to adapt the rates to other maintenance practises.

◗ CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 17


Grass species have different growth potential and a corresponding optimal demand for nutrients. Correct fertilization keeps the nitrogen levels in the grass plants low and stable, but still pushing plant growth enough to repair wear and tear.


Autumn Fertilization

Late autumn fertilization of fine turf has not been common practice in the Nordic countries until now. Fear for winter injuries has made the greenkeepers sceptical to such a practice, but probably for no reason. Eighteen experiments from 2008 to 2010 on greens all over the Nordic countries proved that the positive results from the U.S and Canada are applicable even under Scandinavian conditions. (Kvalbein & Aamlid 2012) The experiments showed no negative effects when applying 2 g/m2 as a balanced NPK soluble fertilizer in the late autumn (LAF). The results were reported as four datasets where the greens were sorted based on the dominating grass species. Annual meadow grass showed no effect of LAF, but creeping bent grass and red fescue had better spring performance and red fescue even had less winter damage. Our data also showed that greenkeepers who had stopped fertilizing early in the autumn had more benefit from the LAF than those who continued fertilizing with small rates until frost and/or snow fall. Therefore, we now recommend to keep fertilizing with diminishing rates until the frost and snow is permanent. The theoretical background for this recommendation is that the acclimation of plants before winter is based on their genetic make-up and not influenced by reasonable amounts of nitrogen. In other words; a plant species which is well


Ericsson, T. (1995). Growth and shoot: root ration of seedling in relation to nutrient availability. Plant and Soil 168-169: 205-214. Ericsson, T., K. Blombäck & A. Neumann (2012. Demand-driven fertilization. Part I: Nitrogen productivity in four high-maintenance turf grass species. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B - Soil and Plant Science, 62 ((Supplement 1) : 113 – 121. Ericsson, T., K. Blombäck, A. Kvalbein & A. Neumann (2012) Demand-driven fertilization. Part II: Influence of demand-driven fertilization on shoot nitrogen concentration, growth rate, fructan storage and playing quality of golf turf. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B - Soil and Plant Science, 62 ( Supplement 1): 139 – 149. 18 GreenMaster |

adapted to cold climate will not keep growing just because it has access to nitrogen. Another aspect is that perennial grasses, unlike conifers and deciduous trees, are able to transform the light radiation into sugar even at low temperatures (Huner et al. 1993). The photosynthesis is going on throughout the autumn because the grass plant is able to produce more enzymes necessary for doing the CO2-reduction and also to establish alternative pathways for sugar production. This adaption to cold benefits from good access to nitrogen. By keeping the turf green and well fertilized in the autumn, plants will produce more sugar and be better fit to resist all kinds of winter damage. We still need more fine-tuned experiments to determine the optimal autumn fertility rates for each grass species. There may be distinguished differences between the fine fescues and bent grasses which are genetically well adapted to cold climate as opposed to perennial ryegrass and annual meadow grass, which tend to keep growing in the autumn. GM

STERF is a research foundation that supports existing and future R&D efforts and delivers ready-to-use research results that benefit the Nordic golf sector. STERF was set up in 2006 by the golf federations in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Nordic Greenkeepers’ Associations.

Huner, P. A. N., G. Öquist, V. M. Hurry, M. Kroll, S. Falk & M. Griffith (1993). Photosynthesis, photoinhibition and low temperature acclimation in cold tolerant plants. Photosynthesis Research 37: 19-30. Knecht, M. F. & A. Göransson (2004). Terrestrial plants require nutrients in similar proportions. Tree Physiology 24, 447-460. Kvalbein, A. & T. S. Aamlid (2012) Impact of mowing height and late autumn fertilization on the winter survival and spring performance of golf greens in the Nordic countries. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B - Soil and Plant Science, 62( Supplement 1): 122-129.






Join the CGsA

• TS



AdvocAcy Programs and Services Promotion of the Profession

Professional Development

Representation certificAtion


tGif AcceSS

national tournament Program

Fall Field Day

Manulife Group RRSP


CGsA Live LeArninG Centre

GreenMaster CITCTS AD&D and Life and Health Group Insurance On the Fringe Lower Event and Service Rates EnCouRAGE YouR SuPERInTEnDEnT To JoIn: You’ll find that the benefits derived for you, your superintendent and your facility from membership in CGSA are far greater in value than the annual fee.

Join noW! or contact Lori micucci at 905-602-8873 ext. 226

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 19


CGSA President Christian Pilon

Answering The Call Of Duty ◗ When Christian Pilon took office as the Canadian Golf

Superintendents Association’s 46th president, he did so in part out of a sense of responsibility and also out of a sense of gratitude. Pilon certainly has plenty to do as the master superintendent at Mount Bruno Country Club in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC. But he felt an obligation to his peers in the CGSA and most of all to his chosen profession. “It’s about giving back,” he says. “This profession has given me and my family so much. I’m very fortunate; I have the time, I have some energy to give, and this is a great cause. “Our forefathers like John B. Steel had the foresight to get together across Canada to form this association. They gave time, they gave back.” Pilon’s connection to the golf industry was forged at a young age. He grew up in Rouyn-Noranda, QC near the Ontario border, roughly a six-and-half-hour drive from Montreal. Despite its location in the northwestern part of the province, the area was a golfing hotbed; there were more than a dozen golf courses within an hour’s drive of his hometown. Pilon himself started playing the game at age 13 at Club de golf Dallaire. Before long, he was working for the golf professional, picking the range, and cleaning and repairing golf clubs. When he wasn’t working, he was on the golf course himself. “I played a lot of golf,” Pilon recalls. “You’d work in the morning and play in the afternoon or play in the morning and work in the afternoons and evenings.” One of the people Pilon impressed with his work ethic was Rémi Sylvain, the golf course superintendent. “He approached me and said he liked the way I worked,” Pilon says. “He said ‘I would make room for you on my team any day.’” Pilon enrolled at Quebec University in Montreal where he planned to study geography, but his stay there was brief. The following spring he joined Sylvain’s crew at Club de golf Dallaire and never looked back. “I got on the golf course and that’s when my eyes popped wide open,” he says. “Wow. You can make a living doing this? Where do I sign up?” Sylvain was Pilon’s first boss and mentor in the turf industry. “He taught me some very important lessons,” Pilon says, “and attitudes towards golf-course maintenance that I still carry with me today. About doing quality work, about ethics, about being able to convey your ideas properly. He played a big role at the beginning of my career.” Sylvain was a stickler for details. “One of the things he told me right from the get-go was ‘If you can’t cut a straight pin you will not last very long in the business.’” Pilon recalls. “Those little details really helped me focus on doing the right things. I still remember that to 20 GreenMaster |

this day. He was my role model.” In 1996, Pilon was promoted to assistant superintendent. At Sylvan’s urging, he enrolled in the golf technician co-op program at Seneca College in King City, ON near Toronto. He completed the two-year program in April of 1998, graduating with high honors. Around that time, Sylvain decided it was time to move on and Pilon, who was just 23 at the time, was named to succeed him. He stayed for just a year before moving on to accept the head superintendent’s post at Station Mont-Sainte-Anne, Club de golf Le Grand Vallon in Beaupré. But it was his experiences at Club de golf Dallaire that sent him on his chosen career path. “It was definitely a learning experience,” Pilon says. “But I was also fortunate to be involved in everything at the club. To have my opinions heard. To be in the loop on discussions. [Sylvain] really took me under his wing to get me prepared. It was the perfect place to start young.” At Station Mont-Sainte-Anne, Club de golf Le Grand Vallon, Pilon was no longer ‘The kid taking care of the golf course.’“I felt instantly like a consummate professional,” he says, “They wanted to raise the standards of the golf course. I was on my own, making all the calls.” Pilon, who was still just 24, was faced with the challenge of restoring a 26-year-old golf course that had been allowed to deteriorate. It was left to Pilon to pump life back into the facility, on a limited budget. “There was nothing left,” he says, “in terms of tools, in terms of equipment, in terms of staff. The irrigation system was in shambles. “So I had to quickly become an opportunist. It wasn’t about how much money we had, it was about what we were going to do with it, and doing more with less.” It was also about balancing a budget against the high standards the resort’s guests expected, a circumstance that might have been disconcerting to some, but one Pilon viewed as an opportunity. “Numbers were important,” he says. “You had to be able to talk to people about budgets and justify everything you did. But at the same time, I had the freedom to do what was necessary to bring the standards of the golf course to the level that was expected. “So I very, very quickly became an opportunist superintendent or manager and I think that has followed me to this very day.” This ‘Make the most of what you have’ philosophy is one that Pilon has passed along to his team at Mount Bruno, which numbers 15. “It’s not necessarily about how much money we have in our budgets,” he says. “It’s what is given to us right now. What are the opportunities we have right now and where can we have the biggest impact, both on the experience of our members and also on business.” Even now, as the head superintendent at a private facility, Pilon is careful about how he spends the dollars in his budget. “It’s a matter

“I had to quickly become an opportunist. It wasn’t about how much money we had, it was about what we were going to do with it, and doing more with less.” Christian Pilon, CGSA President

of ‘How can I keep enhancing the conditions and making the club thrive?’” he says, “while making sure that we are as efficient as we should be.” Pilon spent four years at Station Mont-Sainte-Anne. During the winter months he worked on the resort’s ski patrol. In June of 2003 he took a position at Le Maître de Mont-Tremblant in Mont-Tremblant, QC, a Clublink facility. Again, he found a golf course in need of tender loving care. When he arrived, there was no grass on the fairways—and no water for the irrigation system because the pumps weren’t working properly. But Pilon went to work and within a year the club hosted a QPGA event. “I like challenges,” Pilon says. “It was a dire situation when I came in there, but it was a matter of doing things one thing at a time. We put a good plan in place and we managed to put together a pretty good end of season. And we had a really good season the following year. But it sure was a lot of work to bring it back.” As successful as Pilon has been at restoring neglected golf courses, he readily admits he had plenty of help along the way. “You get things done with a good team,” he says. “You need good people around you to make things happen.” And when Pilon needed an outside opinion he was able to call on his fellow superintendents. “This is where associations come into play,” he says. “I found other mentors in the Quebec Golf Superintendents Association and the CGSA where you’re exposed to a lot of new ideas and philosophies and new ways of thinking. “Our profession is that way. You’re rarely going to meet a superintendent that’s not going to help you, that’s not going to give you his take on what you’re going through or share ideas and experiences. And that’s what’s really great about our profession.” Pilon has been a member of the Quebec Golf Superintendents Association for more than 18 years. He’s spent most of the past 12 years on its board of directors and served as the group’s president in 2007-08. He’s been a CGSA member for more than 16 years and a member of its board of directors since 2008.


MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 21



One of the people he connected with early in his career was Brian Youell, who at the time was the recently promoted head superintendent at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria, BC. He’s still there today and was named the CGSA Superintendent of the Year in 2013. Youell says he felt early on that Pilon would make an impact in the turf industry. “It was obvious back then he was going to be a leader for the next generation of superintendents,” Youell says. “He started to network and model the behavior of well-respected superintendents in the industry. He asked a lot of questions, and displayed professionalism from the very beginning. He would listen and take to heart the advice he would receive from his mentors.” From the earliest days of his career Pilon was focused on landing a job at a club near Montreal. In November of 2004, he realized that ambition when he was hired at Mount Bruno. How he came to apply for the post is a story in itself. One September afternoon, Pilon was on the golf course at Le Maître de Mont-Tremblant with his crew, in the process of aerating the front nine, when he noticed a golfer on the first hole, which was closed. It turned out that the visitor was a member at Mount Bruno, who informed Pilon that his club was looking for a superintendent and encouraged him to apply for the position. Not long after, Pilon was headed to the south shore of the St. Lawrence. Mount Bruno Country Club dates back to 1918. The original golf course was designed by Willie Park, Jr. Stanley Thompson and Thomas McBroom have made changes to the layout in the years since. Pilon describes Mount Bruno as “A superintendent’s paradise as it is host to roughly 11,000 rounds of golf every year. “The people who come to the golf course have a passion for their club,” he says. “They have a passion for the game of golf and that makes for some phenomenal conversations. I feel nothing but support from all the members, from the board of directors, from the green chairman from everybody at the club. I am also very fortunate to have an extraordinary staff that is lead by assistant-superintendent Maxime Chartier. “I feel nothing but respect and support in everything we do and you need support when you’re getting involved in [superintendents] associations. You need [the club] to be behind you and support what you do for the golf industry and for your profession. Pilon has been blessed with the support of his family as well. He and his partner Susan Hayward are the parents of two daughters, ages 9 and 7. “They are the joys of my life,” Pilon says. “I have a very supportive 22 GreenMaster |

family. You have to have a supportive family, especially with the moves that I’ve made. In a span of two years I moved them twice. Now I’m trying to be supportive as Susan is going back in the workforce.” John Mills, the CGSA’s immediate past president, says that mindset exemplifies what Pilon is all about. “He exudes passion,” Mills says. “He’s passionate about the things that matter, his family, his profession, and giving back to his profession.” Pilon is cognizant of the economic issues that impact the turf industry. The turf-management program he himself completed at Seneca College was eventually discontinued because there weren’t enough quality jobs available for new graduates. “It’s definitely a tough time for superintendents,” Pilon says. “A few golf courses are closing. There’s definitely a shift toward downsizing. If there aren’t as many rounds being played, there are not going to be as many opportunites for superintendents and budgets are going to be affected. Pilon says it’s important for a superintendent to stay out in front on budget issues so he or she can decide what cuts are necessary [or can get a leg up on dealing with cuts that are mandated]. “There is a need to continually reinvent our department every year,” he says. “And when it comes from you first as the superintendent you become part of the change instead of suffering the change. “You need to be able to feel the trends and the health of the club and seek to be the one deciding whether you’re going to cut people or whether you’re going to cut in other areas. “If I’m being told, for example, that I have one less person to work on the golf course that doesn’t sit very well with me. I want to be ahead of that ball game and be the one creating the change. Making sure the change is my change, not anybody else’s.” “To do that, you need to be credible from the get-go. You need to understand the club’s overall finances, you need to be on top of your own numbers. And you need to be on top of what your department needs to bring to the table and also what every other department’s needs are. It’s a total team effort.” Pilon says it’s important that the CGSA work closely with other golf associations. By doing so, the association not only increases its own visbility but also provides opportunities for the golfing public to get a better sense of the superintendent’s role in the industry. “Through our involvement with other golf associations we definitely have an impact on the perception of golf course superintendents,” he says. I think we’re getting more and more recognition from those associations, a lot more. GM


Producing a Game Changer Olds College restructures turfgrass education â—— In the spring of 2012, a one-time opportunity to make a meaningful change and pull apart the traditional delivery of education was given to the faculty of the Turfgrass Management Program at Olds College. The result is a program that will truly change the face of turfgrass education as it refocuses on the student experience with a much more integrated network within the golf course industry and its leaders. The benefits to the students are concentrated on the long-term with more affordable education, more convenient intake dates, stronger industry mentorship, international internship opportunities and less time away from the job. Not only has this been accomplished without removing any of the program competencies or credit values, the program outcomes are stronger than ever! The golf course industry was engaged early in the process and will become an integrated partner with Olds College as we move forward. One of the first changes made to benefit both the student and the employer was to change the student intake date from September to January of each year. This allows the students to work alongside their industry and faculty mentors as the golf course is preparing for winter. This is one of the most critical functions that students have not been able to participate in with traditional September start dates The second change will be in the classroom with structure and scheduling that will allow for deeper investigation into the subject matter without having to switch

between five different courses, as in the traditional setting. The learning revolves around problem solving and as all successful superintendents know, their day is filled with problems that need to be handled. The students will be required to be on campus for four months to complete six courses and get ready for their field school and internship. The third change will take place once May arrives and the students go back into the industry. They will remain for a minimum six months, until the end of October, in a field school/internship. This is where the program will really separate itself from the traditional educational offerings. Students will be paid employees in the industry, performing regular roles within the golf course, and will also be taking courses that the faculty of Olds College will be directing. There will be three rigorous classes that the students will be required to complete over the entire golf season. The students will make observations and inquiries about the golf course system and develop an understanding of the relationships between all aspects of the operation. Many of the labs will be performed using equipment and operations that actually exist in the field. In these field schools and internships, the students will be working in collaborative groups with their fellow students and will draw on the experience and knowledge of many of the golf course superintendents to complete their course work. The student and industry will benefit from this program. Students will receive the opportunity to learn from every participating golf course

mentor and the golf course mentors have the chance to see every student in the program. There will be immense value to both the student and the industry with these collaborations. The new changes have been met with exceptionally positive responses from both the golf course industry and Olds College. We want to thank all of the superintendents that first came forward with their time and enthusiasm to see these changes become the baseline for the new program. Below is a timeline that represents traditional intake dates for students and the brand new Turfgrass Management Program at Olds College. The new program revolves around the four-year Bachelor of Applied Science in Golf Course Management that can be completed in three calendar years. There are two exit points before this: one after the first two years where the students will graduate with a Diploma in Turfgrass Management and the second being after the first year where the students will graduate with a Certificate in Turfgrass Management. This means students can take as little or as much of the program as they need to achieve their own personal growth and needs. GM Ian Morrow is an instructor at Olds College.

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 23


Audubon Certification:

Achievable by All

◗ It’s the third week of March in Ontario, more specifically the Niagara Region, and we are just starting to see the signs of turf exposure. While we’re driving around the golf course to scout the property for new bird box installation sites, a dozen deer bolt across the #6 Battlefield fairway of the 45-hole Legends on the Niagara Golf Course and head towards the War of 1812 Commemorative Battlefield site. The moist scent of spring is in the air today and the familiar, annual singing of birds is abundant. After receiving our certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary from Audubon International this February, an Earth Day project is in the works to install more bird boxes throughout the property. By the time this article is published, we’ll be smack dab in the middle of another busy golf season, concerned with the numerous tasks and challenges required to maintain our golf facilities. One such challenge that the Legends team pursued diligently over the last three years was to obtain our Audubon Certification through Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. The intention of this article is to outline the steps required to obtain certification as well as discuss the benefits of the program to golf courses. The vast majority of golf courses already do a number of practices necessary for successful certification, as you will see from the discussion. It is important to remember that every property will have its own unique management opportunities from an environmental perspective that will need to be considered. The first stage of the process is to create an Environmental Plan, which will serve as a blueprint for maximizing environmental assets and minimizing environmental

problems on the golf course. A step-by-step plan is created at this point to evaluate the property’s strengths/weaknesses, define goals, choose projects, assign tasks, develop a timeframe and evaluate successes. This important stage of the process provides written documentation of your environmental accomplishments/goals and a means by which you can evaluate your progress. A key component of the Environmental Planning stage is the formation of a Resource Advisory Group (RAG). This is a group of people, organizations, school groups, federal/provincial agencies, etc. who can help you implement projects and provide technical support along the way. The number of partnerships that become available when you look for possibilities is incredible. As golf course superintendents, we have a tremendous amount of industryspecific knowledge. The members of the RAG have expertise that the typical superintendent may not have and will assist in the type of projects you wish to pursue that are environmentally significant to your property. There are five categories that golf courses must achieve certification in when becoming an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. They include Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, and Outreach and Education. The initial step of creating your Environmental Plan provides the framework for satisfying the criteria for each of these five certification categories.

Wildlife and Habitat Management

The purpose of this certification effort is to enhance natural areas and landscaping

on the golf course to protect and improve native habitats and the wildlife that depend on them for survival. Again, we as superintendents are trained in agronomics when it comes to maintaining the golf course. What about obtaining knowledge about the natural habitats that often make up the other half of the property? The knowledge my staff and I have obtained on this topic is never-ending and can be used in so many other facets of our lives. It is critical to realize that the non-play, natural areas, as well as water features, gardens and landscaped features, usually provide the primary food, cover and water sources that sustain wildlife. This category tends to have the most impact when it comes to golfer perceptions of the playability of the golf course due to naturalization efforts. Slow play, conflicting aesthetics and golfer expectations are the most common concerns when naturalizing areas on the golf course. For naturalization efforts to be successful on the golf course, communication with stakeholders is the number one priority. When determining which locations to naturalize or designate as no mow areas, it is imperative to involve key stakeholders such as members, boards, professional golfing staff, etc. before initiating any of these plans. One of our key findings was that the naturalization of deemed ‘out of play’ areas doesn’t mean a decrease in playing conditions. The labour required for the routine maintenance of these areas resulted in more time being reallocated to maintaining the key playing surfaces. Again, communicating this and being prepared to respond to questions with regards to project costs and the effects on the game of golf are essential. Implementing ‘no mow areas’ on the golf

There are five categories that golf courses must achieve certification in when becoming an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. They include Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, and Outreach and Education. 24 GreenMaster |

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

course is only one example of an initiative that has been undertaken by many courses. Most of us are challenged to do more with less in the industry today, which leads many of us to have already implemented the ‘no mow area’ strategy. The Audubon Certification program provides an avenue to document this work and communicate the environmental benefit associated with it.

Chemical Use Reduction and Safety

The purpose of this category is to ensure safe storage, application and handling of chemicals and the reduction of actual and potential environmental contamination associated with chemical use. This Audubon category focuses on expanding your knowledge of chemical use issues, cultural practices, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), proper application and storage of chemicals for the environment, training/ supervising staff and ensuring chemical application equipment is properly maintained. Using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach and implementing sound cultural practices are two topics that all superintendents today must be familiar with. Being a superintendent in Ontario, with the requirement to be IPM-accredited for a few years now, the components of this category are overly familiar to us. Again, the Audubon Certification program further supports the work that many of us do on a daily basis to maintain our properties in an environmentally responsible manner when it comes to pesticide use. Aside from thorough documentation required for the focuses of this category, I am positive the vast majority of superintendents could easily achieve this certification.

Water Conservation

Ensuring adequate water supplies for the healthy ecological functioning of water bodies, such as rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes and ponds, is the purpose to the Water Conservation category. The Audubon program enforces recognition of water sources on your property and its judicious use. It also encourages maximum efficiency of irrigation through system maintenance


and the implementation of water conservation practices. Over the last number of years, we can all agree that the two topics of greatest concern in our profession have been chemical and water use. Some provinces are already familiar with a governmentregulated program for our responsible chemical use. One can only assume it will just be a matter of time before a structure is in place to further monitor our water use beyond the Permit to Take Water guidelines enforced by the Ministry of the Environment. The perception may exist that without a million-dollar, computer-controlled irrigation system, a golf course cannot achieve the optimal efficiency required for water conservation efforts. However, Audubon does not require these expensive upgrades to achieve certification. The program simply advocates that superintendents and their staff maximize the efficiency of the system that is in place, properly maintain equipment, and employ proper watering practices and agronomics.

I am confident the vast majority of superintendents are saying, “I already do this.” Exactly! Many supers are already retrofitting existing systems, repairing leaks, keeping accurate water use records, irrigating priority areas first, hand watering, using moisture meters, altering cultural programs and using wetting agents, just to name a few of the water-conscious strategies. The list can go on and on. On top of all of this, we all know the problems with turf management and course playability that may occur if we overapply water. It is easy for one can see that with some time dedicated to documenting the different means we implement to reduce our water use on the golf course, certification in Water Conservation through the Audubon program is quite attainable.


MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 25




Water Quality Management

Ensuring clean water supplies and protecting the health and integrity of water bodies is the basis of the Water Quality Management satisfaction criteria for the Audubon program. Three key goals are highlighted for accomplishing this certification. They include improving your knowledge regarding the local watershed and pollution prevention strategies, implementing best management practices (BMP) or structural controls to reduce water body contamination and monitoring programs to detect possible movement of nutrients and chemical inputs into water sources. We were already doing several of the BMPs that would enable us to achieve this certification effort, such as IPM initiatives, vegetative buffer establishment, nospray zones and spoon feeding nutrient applications through covered boom sprayers, just to name a few. Involvement in the Audubon program has helped us develop our knowledge of water quality and the challenges that we face from offsite impacts. Perhaps the most successful and rewarding aspect of this category is the component of water quality monitoring. The quality of all water bodies on the property is monitored on a regular basis and records are documented so that they can be compared to the BMPs we are implementing. Water quality is monitored through visual inspection, objective monitoring and data collection, and macroinvertebrate sampling. After two years of sampling activity within a creek that flows through our property, 26 GreenMaster |

results seem to be indicating the section of the creek that flows through the golf course is aiding water quality parameters in areas such as data measurements and macroinvertebrate populations.

Outreach and Education

As a golf course superintendent, we are more aware than anyone else of the negative stereotypes about golf courses as polluters of the environment. These stereotypes directly attack the soul of our profession. Golf course superintendents are not only responsible for the playing surfaces on the golf course, we also are stewards of the land. Through the hard work of associations such as the CGSA, provincial bodies and local chapters of superintendent organizations, the negative, social perceptions associated with golf courses and the environment are starting to change. Management of golf facilities and superintendents need to step up to the plate to further communicate with golfers and the public about their environmental efforts. The RAG, formed during the Environmental Plan stage, is the ideal place to start by building a support team for the superintendent and club to tackle projects and help communicate these environmental stewardship and conservation efforts. Some examples from our facility include posting signs throughout the golf course, formulating newsletters, hosting an annual meeting to discuss pesticide usage, encouraging and educating staff and implementing outreach projects. Through partnerships with local elementary schools, colleges and universities, numerous projects and studies have been accomplished. From our experiences, it appears these educational

institutions are just looking for local environments to implement their plans and studies. Once you reach out to these groups, the amount of support available in the local community towards your environmental efforts is extraordinary. For our facility to move forward with this initiative, we found that it was necessary to hire a seasonal employee who directly looked after all of the above initiatives. Through a local college, an intern Environmental Management student was hired to assist in Audubon projects and the requirements of the IPM Accreditation Program that is mandated in Ontario. In conclusion, you can see that the majority of the categories that need to be satisfied to become Audubon Certified are already being accomplished within your operation. By dedicating time to document these activities and initiating the process with Audubon, certification of most facilities isn’t out of the realm of possibility. With a continued commitment to providing optimal playing conditions and keeping the effects of these activities on the environment at the front of our minds at all times, golf will continue to coexist with nature. Through involvement with organizations like the Audubon program, management at our facilities is assisted in communicating the benefits of golf courses and highlighting how courses can enhance wildlife habitats and protect natural resources for the benefit of people, nature, and the game of golf. GM Tom Newton is the superintendent at Legends on the Niagara Golf Course and helped spearhead the facilities successful Audubon Certification process.


Compost Tea For the management of dollar spot and snow mold ◗ The first field season has now been completed and a series of data representing the performance of compost tea under field conditions is currently being analysed. New composts have been produced and are being screened for their use in the up-and-coming field season where their efficacy will be tested in the field conditions. The effect of compost tea on overcoming the toxin produced by the pathogen has been tested and is nearing completion. A series of induced resistance tests are underway as well. A new inoculum has also been produced and is working quite well to represent field conditions in the greenhouse.

Field Experiment

A field experiment was conducted this past spring, summer and fall. Two sampling sites were selected on a local golf course, (Mountain Golf and Country Club, Valley, NS) as well, a double set of plots were selected on our experimental green located at the ATRC (Bible Hill, NS). The design consisted of a 3x4 randomized design and individual plots were one meter by two meters in size (Figure 1). This design was duplicated at all sampling sites. The plots were treated once a week with either 50% compost tea, 100% compost tea or distilled water as a control. Data was collected on the diameter of visible dollar spots as well as number and location within the plots. A grid was used to track location and number. This data is currently being analysed in order to determine trends and patterns across the three treatments at the various locations.

Toxin Experiment

The toxin work is also moving along quite well. An in-vitro micro climate has been designed in which the grass can be exposed to compost tea treatments, as well as toxin, and perform in a fully measurable manner. In this setup, we can collect root data and measure the amount of disease damage the toxin inflicts on the growing tissue of the plants. One trial has been completed, trials 2 and 3 are currently underway, and data will be collected very soon.

tea exhibited resistance to the dollar spot pathogen. Blades from the treated plants where green while the water treated blades turned chlorotic (Figure 2). The result suggests that compost treatment induced systemic resistance in the grass against dollar spot disease.


Compost Completion

The mature composts are now ready and preliminary tests are underway to test which compost show the most promise for use in the up-and-coming field experiment. These composts are of known sources and contain only specific feedstocks. We hope that by controlling the feedstock in the compost we can control for any compounds we might find in the completed tea.

Induced Resistance Study

A series of greenhouse experiments were conducted to test the effect of compost tea treatment on the resistance of creeping bentgrass. The plants were treated with 50% compost tea, 100% compost tea and distilled water. Forty-eight hours after the last treatment, blades were harvested and placed on a clean glass slide and inoculated with mycelial plug. The slide was then placed in a moist chamber and incubated at 22-25°C and observed at day three and day five after inoculation. At both observation times, the plant treated with compost

A new inoculum procedure has been tested and is currently what we are using for all experiments. This new method better represents what is the proposed method of natural infection that the fungus surviving unfavourable periods in the plant debris at the soil level. This new method of using millet seed as the medium for growth and then inoculating with that seed represents a more naturalistic type infection compared to that of the direct placement of the mycelium-covered, PDA plugs.

Isolation of Snow Mold

New samples have been collected from the ATRC and isolation of a pure culture of gray snow mold is currently underway.

Plan for spring and summer

1. Field trial with the compost tea (cow, mink or chicken) that performs best in the current greenhouse trial to against dollar spot. These trials will be conducted at Mountain golf course and ATRF. 2. Observe the snow mold incidence in plots that were treated with compost tea during the spring and summer of 2010. GM B. Prithiviraj, Department of Environmental Sciences, Nova Scotia Agricultural College



Mentor Memories CGSA Superintendent of the Year winners talk about those who helped them along the way ◗ Not many people can say they’ve had a mentor since birth, but Brian Youell can. The veteran superintendent and 2012 CGSA Superintendent of Year points to his grandfather as the first and most influential mentor he had growing up. “Because I grew up on a dairy farm, I got to work with my grandfather just about every day,” says Youell, the superintendent at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria, BC. “He worked very, very hard and he was a big proponent of the help-thy-neighbour mentality. He worked seven days a week for his entire life until the day he died so he had an amazing work ethic and the rest of us on the farm had that same work ethic. He also treated his family and friends with great pride and respect and was a great role model.” While Youell’s grandfather helped instill some important life lessons in his grandson, when it came to a career managing turfgrass, Youell looked to his predecessor at Uplands, Bill Shvetz, for a role model. “Bill worked hard and stood up for what he believed in when maintaining his golf course,” says Youell. Mentors don’t need to be older, however, and Youell counts Dean Piller, superintendent at Cordova Bay and 2010 Superintendent of the Year, as a turf care professional he strives to emulate. “If I could use one word to describe Dean, it’s passion!” says Youell. “He steps on the course every day like it’s his first day on the job. He’s always trying new practices to make his course better.” Piller didn’t reach the pinnacle of the industry alone. He’s had handfuls of mentors over his 24 years at Cordova Bay, he says. “You just have to look at the list of the John B

“Phil [Currie] was the first guy who really made me enthused about the industry and made me start to realize I had a career in it.” Jim McGarvey

28 GreenMaster |

“Bill [Shvetz] worked hard and stood up for what he believed in when maintaining his golf course.” Brian Youell

Steele Award winners,” says Piller about his mentors. “These are all people who I felt carried themselves very professionally and were very active in the industry through association work. I’m probably who I am today as a result of these superintendents.” Piller also mentions Dennis McKernan as his mentor. McKernan was an instructor and ran the maintenance department at Olds College. Piller still uses many of the lessons McKernan taught him when he worked under the instructor at Olds, one of them being how to network, learn and find ways to improve his course at a trade show. Jim McGarvey’s mentors helped show him the ropes of the industry and planted the seeds for what has grown into a long and storied career as a superintendent. McGarvey was heavily influenced by the superintendent, Ken Johnson, and assistant, Phil Currie, at the Bend Golf and Country Club in Bend, Oregon, the first course he worked at. “Phil was the first guy who really made me enthused about the industry and made me start to realize I had a career in it,” says the 2013 CGSA Superintendent of the Year. McGarvey’s next mentor, Jack Archambault, came at a crucial moment in his life, a moment when he had started to commit to a career in golf course management. “This was a critical period for me because by then I had decided to take (golf course management) seriously,” says McGarvey. “Jack became almost like a father figure to me in many ways. He spent hours and hours answering all the questions I had about turfgrass and the business. He always had time for me and

answered all my questions,” says McGarvey about Archambault, who he worked under for seven years. All three former Superintendent of the Year recipients agree that having mentors is crucial to developing not just who you are as a superintendent, but as a person as well. “Mentors are like a book,” says Youell, “they have a story to tell and their story is a little different than yours. Mentors may have had the same experience you are about to encounter and they can share their insights to ensure you’ll be successful.” The uniqueness of the golf course management industry makes mentors key to success, says McGarvey. “This is a very unusual job compared to most and no matter how great your education is, a lot of the knowledge is learned on the job,” says McGarvey. “Having a mentor that can lead you down this path in an organized way is important.” A good mentor can have a ripple effect on a person’s life, says Piller, and can help you achieve great things on the job as well as away from it. “No matter what it is in life… you become who you are because of the people who have an influence on you,” says Piller. “Mentorship can go far beyond the boundaries of the golf industry. I’ve had students that have worked (at Cordova) and gone on to be in all sorts of careers. One in particular, who became a chiropractor, said mowing greens was the best job he’d ever had.” All three superintendents know what it’s like to get a helping hand and some sage advice from a mentor. Now they have some advice for the next generation and those looking to help them in their careers. “Associate as much as possible with the people who you look up to,” says McGarvey. “That may come from being active in the local association, attending lunch meetings, volunteering for committees and

doing things where you are exposed to people who may have more experience than you do so you can learn from them.” Piller also says that learning from the best goes a long way to growing and improving. “Apply to positions where you will be working under a superintendent that is well-respected in the industry,” says Piller. “That person has earned the respect from 20 or 30 years of working in the industry and you can reap the benefits of their past trials and tribulations and successes.” Volunteering at different courses in different areas will help you gain both experience and a diverse group of mentors, says Youell. Youell’s best advice, however, is to simply reach out to new colleagues in the area to help them feel comfortable. “One of the first things I do if a new superintendent comes to our area is… get them fast-tracked to what is happening in the golf industry in the local area. Most importantly I will be honest about what things have and have not worked for me,” says Youell. “For me, if all of our golf courses in the local area are strong and have good conditions, then I feel we can be a golf destination for customers to come from out of town and have a wide variety of golf to choose from.” GM

“Apply to positions where you will be working under a superintendent that is well-respected in the industry” Dean Piller

596118_Buffalo.indd 1

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 29 AM 7/11/12 9:43:18


Work/Life Balance Striving for excellence in both areas ◗ It will not be a surprise to anyone reading this article that today’s golf course superintendents face tremendous pressure to provide the highest possible standards in course conditioning at their facilities on a daily basis. We also seem to have a greater demand on our time due to increased administrative and record keeping duties. The time required to deal with issues such as Occupational Health & Safety and IPM reporting are significant. Those are only two examples out of a long list of many important issues that require time spent away from greens keeping. With the pressure and time crunch, it sometimes feels like we have to be all things to all people, which can stretch us thin. Because we are all spread thin, it feels like we have to spend all day, every day, at the golf course just to stay on top of things. Although we all love caring for our golf courses, a balanced approach to the time we spend at work is essential for being our best. Each golf course superintendent I have ever met also wants to continually improve his/her operation and is driven by a quest for excellence. In this day and age, all information in regards to golf course management is available to everyone at the touch of a computer key. The information on the web is absolutely amazing. So if the information and knowledge base is available to everyone who has a computer, how do we separate ourselves from the pack? I believe one way to accomplish this is to perform each and every task to the very highest standard and to maximize the volume of work to increase the impact of your results. This is easier said than done! Considering the numerous challenges we face; wouldn’t it be great to achieve the results that we desire with more time to spare and, dare I say, even some balance in our lives? I have personally been able to make this work at times throughout my career, although it is still a work in progress. I would like to share some of my ideas and philosophies in 30 GreenMaster |

hope that you may implement some of these notions, improve the results at your course and accomplish what you’re striving for while achieving some type of personal work/life balance. In my 25 years in the golf course management business, I have noticed that there are numerous ways of managing success. My management philosophy, which has evolved over time, includes developing a strong team and creating a culture of personal ownership within your maintenance team. I believe that there are many up-sides to this philosophy and the shared success that it brings is much more rewarding. It also provides the potential for an improved work/life balance.

Building A Great Team

Suggesting that one build a strong team to improve their operation is not a new idea to anyone reading this article. I am a believer that while this sounds like common sense, it is not always a common practice. I will openly admit that many of the suggestions I am writing about here have been learned by trial and error. I wish that these strategies were easy to implement, but they are not. However, the results are well worth the effort. Building a great team takes diligence and discipline on the leader’s part to only invite and keep people for your team that fit the culture. Every team will have a different value system and I believe that your core values must be shared by every person on the team. The core values that we share at Priddis Greens are: selflessness, positive attitude and reliability. The entire leadership group embraces these personal values and talks about them often. We celebrate each time we see all or any staff member exhibiting these characteristics. I subscribe to the philosophy that business leadership expert Jim Collins describes as, “getting the right people on the bus.” Mr. Collins’ idea is that once you have the right people on the bus, it doesn’t matter what direction the bus turns (which strategy you implement), the right people will

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

Because we are all spread thin, it feels like we have to spend all day, every day, at the golf course just to stay on top of things…a balanced approach to the time we spend at work is essential for being our best. stay with the bus and work hard. This metaphor is echoed by business guru Pat Lencioni, author of the bestselling book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” In his book, Lencioni states, “If you can get all people in your organization rowing in the same direction, you can dominate any industry in any market against any competition, at any time.” I have found a number of specific strategies that have been helpful in pulling together the best people for our team. 1. Hire for attitude not aptitude: Regardless of whether you’re hiring for a key leadership position (assistant superintendent, equipment technician, etc.) or a seasonal employee, attitude is critical. A person with the right attitude and matching core values will be much more likely to help the team achieve the desired results than a more talented person who is not a team player. 2. Have a recruitment strategy: There are no right or wrong methods for interviewing and there an unlimited number of basic questions to ask a potential candidate. I have learned to utilize my set of customized interview questions to determine if the candidate will be good team member and cultural fit. 3. Hire different personality types: Early in my career, I was guilty of searching for and hiring staff whose personalities and communication

style were similar to mine. I found it easier to relate to and get things done with these types of people on my team. Over time, I discovered that as long as a person’s core values are in alignment with those on the team, people with a different perspective and communication style will bring new ideas and help solve problems that may have been missed otherwise. 4. Include your leadership group in the hiring process: Ensure your key people have an opportunity to interview or meet the potential new hire. We like to look at adding people to our team in the same vain as bringing someone new into your family. The wrong addition could cause a real disruption. 5. Act quickly: Mistakes in hiring will happen, so deal with it quickly. It’s the leader’s job to recognize when an employee is not a good fit. Following reasonable attempts to help someone fit in and contribute effectively, it’s a leader’s job to act quickly and remove that person from the team if it’s not going to work out. It is a real disservice to both the team and the employee if this process is dragged out. It is essential that during the interview, a new hire realizes that he/she will be accountable for fitting in. With that said, it shouldn’t be a surprise if they are let go.


Of course, hiring great people isn’t going to ensure you have a great team that produces excellent results. Once you have the right mix of people on your team, there needs to be a culture that promotes excellence. One thing that I know to be true is that culture is largely dictated by the leader. For any staff member to be engaged enough to want to personally create great results, they must feel valued. In recent years, there has been an explosion in the science of human motivation. Social scientists studying motivation have determined that two of the most important factors that go into an employee’s success are the feeling of being valued and the feeling they are contributing to the overall success of the vision. Success is all but assured when leaders promote and build a team where every person, regardless of position or tenure, feels valued and recognizes that their contributions matter. There are numerous methods that you can use to show team members they are valued and their efforts help contribute to the success of the organization. These methods I refer to are only effective if there is a specific strategy and language created to communicate them.


PLEASE SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS; they made this publication possible.

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 31



Here a few of methods we use: 1. People feel valued if the leaders invest in them personally: The greatest investment a leader can make in his people is to invest his time in them. Spending time with staff to teach, listen and understand their challenges is essential. To highlight this statement, I will use a quote I read many years ago that rings true for me, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I think we can all relate back to some point in our careers when someone believed in our potential and showed us they cared about us enough to dedicate their time to our development. I was always prepared to go above and beyond to show my gratitude for these special people. I’m certain the people you lead will do the same. 2. Highlighting a team or staff member’s success: This will not only make them feel valued, but will encourage more of the same positive behaviour. Lead by example and encourage all staff to highlight and praise each other’s accomplishments. This can be as simple as recognizing someone for mowing a perfect line, going out of

their way to assist a golfer or even coming to work with a smile. 3. Contributing to a purpose: Some routine golf course maintenance procedures, such as raking bunkers, fly mowing and picking weeds, can seem repetitive and even monotonous. However, if the leaders have defined a strong enough overall purpose for why they exist, motivation will thrive. Imagine if it is your job to rake 65 bunkers day after day. We have all been there; it can get boring and motivation quickly fades. What a different perspective it would be if everyone bought into and was motivated by the club or turf care department’s vision. Imagine that when a staff member performs a task to the highest standard, they realize they are contributing to improving the quality of your customers’ (golfers’) life. A contribution to something that powerful can be energizing.

Start with Why

Full Circle

At the beginning of this article, I highlighted my belief that many golf course superintendents are continually searching for ways to improve their golf course operation, while at the same time searching for the elusive work/life balance. I believe that achieving both of these lofty goals is not only possible, but probable if you embrace some of the principles discussed. The reason I can be certain of this is that I have personally achieved a degree of success in both areas. This is not necessarily an easy process to implement and, quite frankly, it continues to be a work in progress for me and my team. However, if you would like to have confidence in your team’s ability to achieve extraordinary results and at the same time improve your work/life balance, why not give it a go? GM James Beebe is the superintendent at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club. James is also the Secretary Treasurer and Alberta Director for the CGSA..

We have learned that when staff are taught why they are performing a task, they will buy in, take ownership, and perform at a higher level of excellence. For example, when raking a bunker, a staff member can be taught that they must ensure steep bunker faces are not raked aggressively, because a fried egg lie may occur.

Quality Signs Since 1983 Head Office Becky Shearer Toll Free: 1 (800) 909-9927 (Ext. 1) Email:

Eastern Canada Distributor Jim Schwan Sports Beaverton, ON Email:

32 GreenMaster |

On August 22, Puslinch Lake Golf earned a rebate of



by purchasing their turf equipment through Jacobsen, Platinum Partner of the NGCOA Canada

t, Puslinch Lake Jim Moore, Superintenden Ontario ge, brid Cam ., Golf Course Ltd

Neil Beech, GC Duke Equipment Ltd., Mainline distributor for Jacobsen turf equipment



Call us at 866-626-4262

Let us show you how he saved

Jacobsen is just one of the 200+ supplier agreements offered by the NGCOA Canada’s Golfmax Purchasing Program, saving the turf & maintenance department of every member facility money. This program is free with your NGCOA Canada membership.

National Golf Course Owners Association Canada


Going With Flow Understanding the components of electricity and how they affect your machines ◗ Since I didn’t have a chance in the last issue of GreenMaster to wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2014, I hope it has been a great year so far. Last year, I wrote articles about hydraulics and the laws governing hydraulic principals. This year, I will try to explain electronics as it is used on our equipment. Soon you will realize that there is very little difference in the laws controlling electronic and hydraulic circuits. But let’s start with the basics. The modern science of electricity originated with Benjamin Franklin, who began studying and experimenting with it in 1747. In the course of his experiments, Franklin determined that electricity was a single force, with positive and negative aspects. To describe his experiments and results, Franklin coined some 25 new terms, including armature, battery and conductor. His famous kite-flying experiment in a thunderstorm was performed in 1752, near the end of his work in this field. Since then, many scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs around the world have performed their own experiments, verifying and building on Franklin’s beginnings in the field. Now, some 250 years later, we use electricity in almost every aspect of our daily lives. In some cases, we may not even realize that electricity is involved as an integral part of our activities. So, what is electricity? Let’s start with the dictionary definition. The American Heritage Dictionary actually gives three specific definitions: Electricity is the class of physical

phenomena arising from the existence and interactions of electric charge, electricity is the physical science of such phenomena and, thirdly, electricity is the electric current used or regarded as a source of power.  We now know that the actual carriers of electricity are electrons, which have a negative electrical charge as defined in our system of science. The obvious next questions are: What is an electron? Where do electrons come from? How do they carry an electrical charge from place to place? Each atom contains some number of electrons, protons, neutrons and other sub-atomic material. The nucleus (central region) of each atom contains the protons (positive charge) and neutrons (no charge). Electrons (negative charge) live in a cloud around the outside. Electrons in any given atom do not just orbit the nucleus haphazardly; rather, they occupy specific energy levels, or “shells,” around the nucleus. The first or innermost shell is limited to two electrons. Once those two electrons are in place, this shell is filled and will force all other electrons to occupy positions further away from the nucleus. The second shell can hold a maximum of eight electrons, while the third can hold eighteen. The factor that becomes useful in dealing with electricity and electrical phenomena is that those elements that have only one or two electrons in their outermost shells don’t hold on to these outermost electrons very strongly. Therefore, it requires little external energy to pull these electrons away from their parent atoms and move them someplace

Franklin determined that electricity was a single force, with positive and negative aspects. To describe his experiments and results, Franklin coined some 25 new terms, including armature, battery and conductor. 34 GreenMaster |


else. These electrons make all electrical activities possible. In metals such as copper and silver, these outer electrons are essentially free to move around anywhere within the body of the metal. In these metals, the outer electrons are so loosely held that the thermal energy inherent at room temperature is sufficient to free them from their parent atoms. Have you ever walked across a carpet and received a slight shock as you reached out to turn on a light switch? Or heard and felt all the “crackles” as you removed a load of clothes from the dryer? You probably already know that these phenomena are generally known as static, but do you know how and why they happen? What has happened in each case is that the friction of the physical action –

walking over the carpet, etc. – has caused loosely-held electrons to be transferred from one surface to the other. This results in a net negative charge on the surface that has gained electrons, and a net positive charge on the surface that has lost electrons. If the electrical charge continues building through ongoing friction or similar action, it will eventually reach the point where it cannot be contained, and will discharge itself over any available path. Lightning is a spectacular display of electrical energies discharging after being built to high values by clouds rubbing and bumping against each other. All components used in electronic circuits have three basic properties, known as resistance, capacitance, and inductance. In most cases, however, one of these properties will be far more prevalent than the other two. Therefore, we can treat components as having only one of these three properties and exhibiting the appropriate behaviour according to the following definitions.

Resistance: The property of a component to oppose the flow of electrical current through itself. Capacitance: The property of a component to oppose any change in voltage across its terminals by storing and releasing energy in an internal electric field. Inductance: The property of a component to oppose any change in current through itself by storing and releasing energy in a magnetic field surrounding itself.  In the following issues of GreenMaster we will discuss each of these three properties. GM Eddie was the head mechanic at the Ladies Golf Club of Toronto for 22 years, regularly contributes to GreenMaster magazine and is a contract professor at Seneca College in Ontario teaching Reel Technology. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S EXPERIMENTS WITH ELECTRICITY HAVE MADE AN IMPACT FOR CENTURIES.

It’s no surprise that Revolution is trusted by so many turf professionals around the world. It’s the only soil surfactant that goes beyond water repellency issues, providing comprehensive water management and plant health benefits as well.

Better Moisture Distribution

Better Playability

Better Stress Response

Revolution’s patented formulation balances air and water in the soil profile, leading to a better root system and improved soil health. By maximizing the potential of your growing environment, Revolution helps turf function more efficiently and perform at consistently higher levels, even under stress. Try it — and see the benefits for yourself.

Better Root Growth

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 35


A Passion Born in the Prairies Newest CGSA board member has love for the job and perfect timing ◗ Pierre Vezeau has a knack for finding the right place at the right time. It was a minor stroke of destiny, after all, that led the 38-year-old on a path to his life’s passion. Vezeau moved from his hometown of Thunder Bay, ON to Prince Albert, SK as a teenager and took to the city in a way most do; by spending time in the places they feel most comfortable. That place was the golf course. Vezeau had started golfing at a young age and decided to ply his passion at Cooke Municipal Golf Course. Vezeau was at Cooke’s pro shop one day in 1993, but the employee who usually cleaned the golf carts was not. He jumped in to give a hand, got a job and joined the golf course maintenance crew the next year. It’s 20 years later and Vezeau is still there, now as the superintendent. Needless to say, the guy has great timing. That’s why it not hard to see why Vezeau’s decision to join the CGSA’s Board 36 GreenMaster |

of Directors as the Saskatchewan Director came at a perfect time, both personally and for the golf industry. The CGSA has been a standout part of Vezeau’s career thus far and he had been mulling the opportunity to get more directly involved in the association for some time, he says. He decided this was the year to finally do it. “I really like the education part (of the CGSA),” says Vezeau. “Even if you can bring just one thing back to the course, it really helps. Being able to go to the CGSA events and talk to people and see how they do things and got to where they are is a big part of moving your facility forward and making yourself better in the process.” “I think now the timing is just right for me,” says Vezeau about joining the Board. “I’m looking forward to working with the great group that’s on the Board and contributing to the Association.” One is probably more likely to conjure

a picture of fields of wheat alongside long stretches of road when Saskatchewan is mentioned, but the turf care industry in the prairie province faces some big issues. The biggest of these challenges is staffing, says Vezeau. “I think staffing and retaining staff will continue to present its challenges,” he says. “Having said that, last season, as I have said on many occasions, has to be the best year I’ve had with staff since becoming the superintendent. The crew last year was just absolutely great… and many plan to return again this year.” Although the industry faces obstacles, there are many bright spots on that expansive, prairie horizon; ones that Vezeau says could help keep the game of golf healthy for generations to come. “A bright spot for Saskatchewan has to be the success Graham Delaet is having on the PGA tour,” says Vezeau about the top-ranked Canadian on the world’s biggest stage.

“It just seems anyone involved in the golf world within Saskatchewan is talking about him. You’d hope his success thus far will have an impact in juniors and younger kids wanting to get out and play golf.” Vezeau, for his part, likes to keep his accomplishments closer to home. He counts the aggressive campaign to inter-seed bentgrass on the 101-year-old, mostly-poa greens at Cooke among his proudest moments on the course. Vezeau’s major goal off the course is spending time with family, including coaching his daughter’s hockey team. But Vezeau also makes time for himself, time to appreciate what he has come to love most about a life on the links. “You can’t beat those early morning sunrises,” says Vezeau.

“For me, that’s the best part of the day. There’s hardly anyone around, the mowers are going and you’re out there by yourself just taking it all in. My dog Tucker would accompany me often on those early morning drives. He was just past his 13th birthday this January when he passed away. The spring tours so far this year have not been the same without him.” And through it all, the moments of apparent fate and the rollercoaster ride that is turf management, Vezeau points to his wife as the source of ultimate support. “I like to give a big shout out to my wife Kerry for all her support,” he says, “she hears it all, the good, the bad and everything in between. No matter what, she’s always there to listen.” GM


You’ve read it. Now be a part of it! GreenMaster is looking for your ideas and original articles on golf course management. No story or idea is too small. If you have a story you have written or an idea for one you would like to see in the pages of our magazine please send it to We welcome all submissions. Your stories and ideas will make the magazine come alive and help golf course professionals across Canada. Those stories written by superintendents and assistant superintendents that appear in GreenMaster will also automatically be considered for the annual Gordon Witteveen Award. Grow with the CGSA!

MAY/JUNE 2014 | GreenMaster 37



Letters Re: Women in Turf (March/April 2014)

W  ell done Andrea Li! Best success with growth and recognition for Women In Turf!

Cameron Watt Assistant Superintendent, Redwoods Golf Course Re: Back Nine (March/April 2014)

C  ongrats Bruce Constable on the award and the article in CGSA magazine GreenMaster! Nice to see you and your team!

John Bladon

 I am now an official GCSAA and CGSA superintendent member! It’s a proud day for me. See everyone in San Antonio!

Steve Gruhl Resort Superintendent, Bellmere Winds Cottage and Golf Resort


Talk back!


Word on the Course… Q. T  opdressing helps to suppress moss. What other methods help suppress moss?

Q. W  hat makes you happiest about your job as a turfgrass management professional?

A. “Target moss with traffic by placing

A. ”Sunrise, turf vigour and enjoyment


pins near it. Moss is less tolerant to traffic than turf.” “Early season rolling.”

38 GreenMaster |

of a great game.”

Q. W  ho were your mentors in the turfgrass industry? A. ” Tim Kelly!” A. “Neil Pilon, Alex Inglis, Stan

A. “It’s a unique profession that gets

you in touch with nature at its finest and the daily sunrises. It’s the greatest sport on earth.”


Kazymerchuk and Quinton Harasemchuk. Some of the best in the turfgrass industry.” “I learned from my pops and grandpa, two of the best!”

The Gift of

CHOICE Give back to your turf. Protect your turf from a full range of insect and disease pests by choosing the right product and the best supplier for your needs. The Quali-Pro® portfolio of proven actives provides the protection you need and choice you want. Keep your turf looking its best with Quali-Pro products. Support choice: ask for Quali-Pro products by name.


Superior formulation with the same a.i. as Rovral® Green GT

Same a.i. as Banner® MAXX


Same a.i. as Merit® 0.5G

Same a.i. as Merit® 75 WSP

Growth reGulator

Spray patterN INDICator

Same a.i. as Primo Maxx®

A unique pigment spray pattern indicator

Don Surgeoner, Canadian Quali-Pro Manager (519) 535-2409 • • Quality Turf Products ™ Know the Sign is a trademark and ® Quali-Pro is a registered trademark of, LLC. All others are registered trademarks of their respective companies. 13042.11.13


It’s why Sea Island puts us to work on their classic courses. Seaside Course, Sea Island, GA

Perennially ranked as one of the top golf resorts in America, Sea Island boasts a collection of courses designed by architects with names such as Colt, Allison, Fazio, Jones, and Love. All three courses are a labor of love for Director of Agronomy Berry Collett and his crew. And what really makes the job easier for them is the performance and service they get from John Deere. “We really like the cut we get from our 7500 PrecisionCut™ fairway mowers,” says Berry. “And the 220 E-Cut™ greens mowers and 2500B Triplex are tremendous on the green and on our surrounds.” Discover what Berry Collett and Sea Island already know: the proven performance of John Deere golf equipment. Talk to your John Deere golf distributor today.

Trusted by the best courses on Earth. 59079

Profile for William Garrett

Cgsa greenmaster v49 3  

Cgsa greenmaster v49 3